Monthly Archives: September 2015

Letterpress Alive and Well in the Age of Computers

Grandpa-UncleLou

One might say printing, design, typography; all are in my blood. My grandfather in the rear left is the pit boss in this 1930s era print shop. My mother was a proofreader, and my uncle, rear right also worked in the shop and later became a Linotype operator at the Chicago Sun Times. He retired in the 1960s after the paper adopted cold type.

Computers were not for my Uncle Lou. But they were, and are for me, which is why we do all our greeting card printing on short run digital “presses.” Nonetheless, the art and craft of letterpress is not dead, as we learn in Print Magazine’s recent feature, “The Letterpress Journals: Guardians of the Craft.”

A Little Macintosh History on TBT

Mohammed-AliIt was nearly 18 years ago that I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco MacWorld ’98 where I met Mohammed Ali. The former Apple Master and Faculty member was already dealing with Parkinson’s Disease at the time. Still he stood and shook my hand, and graciously allowed me to photograph him with his son munching on goodies in the background.

The late 80’s and 90’s were certainly exciting times for Apple Computer, Inc., if not somewhat volatile with Steve Jobs leaving Apple and later returning to the helm. There was an ongoing technology debate through the late 80’s and 90’s : Mac vs. PC, a debate perhaps as volatile as religious or political debates get—that’s how confident were each platform’s users.

Press-badgeThat particular conference year was a turning point for me. It was time to learn the workings of e-commerce and web design—no more putting it off. But in the meantime, I decided to explore the interactive capabilities of Acrobat, with everything I needed to make an interactive newsletter with recorded sound and video.

Gregory-HinesI purchased a CD with all of the recordings that were presented at the conference by the Apple Masters: Actress, Jennifer Jason Leigh; dancer, Gregory Hines, and many more.

Standing at the foot of the stage, I was just a few feet away, as Hines tapped out his personal history using Apple’s “Mac,” as he referred to it. He started with an unnaturally slow click…click…click, and as he told he story of periodic upgrades, the clacking became louder and faster, until he could snap, clack, and tap no louder, faster or longer. Just Wow!